Showdown: Retrospec Bikes vs Guardian Bikes

Learning how to ride a bike is a rite of passage. While there are plenty of inexpensive bike options, like with most things in life, the more you spend the better quality you get. Many kids learn how to ride on a cheap bike and love it. If your child isn’t showing that much interest in a bike it’s probably not worth splurging if, however, it appears as though they will be spending hours pedaling it’s worth spending to get quality (better weight, breaks, longevity…).

Two of the leading kids bike brands are Retrospec ($49.99-$349.99) and Guardian ($269-$379).  So how do they stack-up? Keep reading!


*Note we are offering general pros and cons as both brands make bikes in more than one style and aimed at a wide age range.

Guardian Pros:

  • Unique break system called SureStop that allows riders to stop faster and with more control – one brake lever controls both the front and rear brakes. This is arguably the safest kids bike.
  • Easy to assemble.
  • No chance of going over the handlebars.
  • Various sizes to fit kids ages 3 to 12.
  • Online fit tool to help you buy the perfect size bike.
  • Quick-release seat adjustment.
  • Handlebar height is adjustable.
  • Kickstand and removable steering limiter.
  • Beautiful design.
  • Two price tiers.

Guardian Cons:

Retrospec Pros:

  • Easy to assemble.
  • Various sizes to fit kids ages 1 to 11.
  • Beautiful design.
  • Work with training wheels.
  • Easy to maintain.
  • Safe design to reduce risk of injury.
  • Select models come with front basket for storage.
  • Many color options.
  • The bikes aimed at toddlers and young children work to develop balancing skills to prepare for pedal bikes.
  • Sturdy construction.
  • Adjustable seats and handlebars.
  • Relatively affordable pricing.

Retrospec Cons:

  • Fairly heavy.

Bottom line: You can’t go wrong with either of these brand. They’re industry leaders for good reasons. If you’re prioritizing safety because you have an aggressive rider and worried he or she may fly over the handlebars, go with Guardian. If you’re looking for color options, are more price sensitive, want training wheels or to get your little one started on a bike as young as 12 months, go for Retrospec.

More About Bikes: